…on The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater {Audiobook}

Posted January 2, 2013 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 29 Comments

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic
Publish Date: October 18, 2011
409 Pages
Source: Audio – Audible purchase,
Book – Kindle purchase

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
-(summary from Goodreads)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


My Thoughts:  One of the definitions (here) for the word “splendid” is excellent or being out of the ordinary, and that is exactly my thoughts on choosing to end out my year with The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. There are actually no other words that can describe it better, so I’ll just stick with splendid. 

It was a splendid idea. It was also marvelous. And absolutely perfect. 

The first thing you need to know is this:
WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS BOOK SOONER?  

The Scorpio Races is one of those books that I’ve had sitting on my Kindle for a while now. It was on sale ages ago, so I grabbed it and knew I’d eventually read it. Life happens, you guys, and we push books back…and back…and back. I’d read over and over where people would just rave about this book. Everyone loves it! You guys love it. OF COURSE, you do – it’s Maggie S! Still, it sat there comfortably on my Kindle, hanging out with all of the other books, waiting for me to start it. (Y’all know what I’m talking about…)

So anyway, I’m reading blogs one day and I come across this post on Hannah’s blog So Obsessed With (one of my favorite blogs, love love love it). Hannah has this thing about her that makes me want to dramatically shove every book far, far away from me and immediately start the one she just talked about, pretty much every time. She just does. She had ALLCAPS in her blog post, first of all. But the thing that got me – really got me – was that she talked about the setting as character. I left a little comment about how I wanted to read The Scorpio Races SOON….then I think she tweeted me about how I should definitely read it soon…then I think some other people saw the tweet and encouraged me to read it ASAP…and then it was ON. 

You guys, there are few things more fun to me than when my reading friends jump on a fun, encouraging, I-love-this-book thing – an Oh-my-gosh-Asheley-you-have-to-read-it-NOW! thing. I decided that night on Twitter that I would end my year with The Scorpio Races. It probably seems very anti-climactic to everyone else, but believe me, it was very dramatic to me as I can sometimes be very melodramatic where my reading is concerned. I was SO. EXCITED. 

The second thing you need to know is this:
My plan to make it my last book of 2012 had to change a bit.
Here’s why.
Lots of you guys know I’m one of the quirkiest readers out there. It’s no secret, so I won’t dwell on it.

1. I started reading The Scorpio Races on my Kindle and made good progress, loving it. I was invested in the characters, the setting, the mythology, the story as a whole. I hated having to stop reading for any reason at all. But I was on a New Year’s vacation/road trip, you see, and I was sort of leaving out my guy as he was driving. The second, the very nanosecond, he expressed interest in the book, I sampled the audiobook and downloaded it. In other words, I started the book again. Why? BECAUSE: The audiobook is wonderful. Even though I was far, far ahead in the Kindle version, I did my usual thing – I went back and followed along with the audiobook. This is the first reason why I was much slower reading the book than I intended, and I am totally okay with that – because I shared my reading experience with someone else, someone new to YA (yay!!) and also because I got to experience this beautiful book via audiobook. 

2. There are some books that I read fairly quickly and love. Most books fall into this category. There are some books – the more intense, emotional books – that I tend to read slowly for various reasons. It’s like sipping hot coffee or savoring delicious dessert. Or…sometimes the intensity is just too much and I can only take little bits and pieces at a time and I have to read slowly. 

In the case of this book, I simply wanted to draw my reading experience out a little longer. YES, I said that I wanted to finish my year out with The Scorpio Races – that was my goal. BUT while I was on the road, I amended my goal to START MY 2013 with The Scorpio Races, and I’m totally okay with that. In fact, as I said earlier, I think that it was a splendid idea. It was just as splendid a plan as it would have been to finish it a day earlier – only better – because I got to linger in the delicious loveliness of the island of Thisby for a day longer; I got to experience the actual Scorpio Races slowly rather than in a hurry; I was able to read ahead and re-read chapters, and then listen to them still again as the audiobook struggled to keep up with the pacing of my eyes on my Kindle. There is no shame here, folks. This book is meant to be savored and rushing it would have been a disservice to the story. 

The third thing you need to know is this:

I GET IT NOW. 

A couple of days ago, I said this: 

“I reeealllyyy want to know why everyone loves this book so much!” 

I get it now. That is all.

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I cannot adequately express the joy, the elation, the emotion that comes at the end of reading a book like The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I want to be able to express how I feel, but I know that I can’t exactly. In a way, that’s okay. If you’re a bookish person at all, you understand the profound sense of awe that comes from a book that you love without words. I don’t have to say anything at all, because you all understand. 

For a person like me – a person that gains so much from books that are heavy on well-developed characterization and setting – this book is like the proverbial pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Each of the characters is perfection, and they are all a part of me now – the good guys and the bad guys – because I have created a visual image for them all. They move a certain way, they look a certain way, the winds off of the ocean blow their hair just so. I see their mud-stained boots, their blood-stained clothes, their tired faces. I see the way they see each other. If the characters are incredible, the relationships between them are even better. Every relationship on this island, be it between people or between a person and their horse, is one that is so fully-formed that a flat page can barely contain it. Every one, so perfect. 

My mind has created a perfect island that can only be Thisby. I can imagine the smell, the colors, the sounds of everything. The world-building doesn’t have to be large because my blogger-friend Hannah was absolutely correct – the island of Thisby is its own character. It begs to be heard and seen and smelled separately and apart from the people and horses on and around it. I cannot describe it to anyone other than to say you have to read the book for yourself and let Maggie Stiefvater help you visualize this place. 

If I use the word “perfect” too much in this blog post, I do not apologize. There is such perfection on these pages. The story is incredible and wonderful and all things excellent. I love that it is written in alternating points-of-view from the perspectives of both Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick. I love that Puck’s character is given a voice that is young, annoyed with her lot in life, and naive about much of what goes on around her. She doesn’t understand why things have to be the way things are in many cases (like with her brother, Gabe) and as readers, we are privy to so much information that is kept from her. This is probably for the best because a heart like Puck’s is raw and untamed yet still fierce and brave. I love her character – her tenacity and her thoughts and the way she looks. She is perfect. 

But Sean Kendrick…Sean Kendrick is a like a mystery. Young Sean understands the ferocious sea like no other. He has an uncanny and dangerous knack for being able to calm the monsters known as capaill uisce, or water horses: it’s almost like he can communicate with them. He has an unspeakable tie to the land. He walks with a sense of purpose, always. He speaks very little. Everyone knows him. There’s just something about Seak Kendrick. He is written so perfectly. I have never been one to to out of my way to read books with animals in them, but the relationship between Sean and his horse, Corr – I have no words. 

I mentioned earlier that after reading the book for a while, I bought the audiobook and restarted. I would read, then listen to the part that I had just read. I did this over and over until I finished the book. Audiobook readers: this has to be one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard. The narrators are PERFECT for their parts. Steve West voices Sean Kendrick’s POV chapters and Fiona Hardingham voices Puck Connolly’s POV chapters. Steve West has a wonderful voice for Sean – he is believable as the character. His voice sounds strong and confident and yet still and quiet, if that’s possible. And Fiona Hardingham is as perfect as anyone can be for a fiesty, fierce, testy lil’ heroine like Puck. She had me chuckling a few times and they both had me tearful and flat-out crying in more than one instance.

The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater in audiobook format is published by Scholastic Audio. It is 12 hours, 6 minutes, Unabridged. This audiobook won the 2012 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production and I completely understand why. It is absolutely incredible – wondrous to listen to and I recommend it wholeheartedly to any audiobook listener. 

I have no words, still. Please read this if you haven’t. I’m so glad I came across Hannah’s blog post, which finally struck the right chord, which finally ignited the Twitter conversation that made me resolve to make this book be my last of 2012/first of 2013. It was perfect. It was splendid. 

I recommend this book for any fans of Maggie Stiefvater, because we all know she has a way with words. So lyrical, she is! I also recommend this book for fans of legends and mythology, fans of great characterization, a fantastic setting, wonderful relationships, and perfect stories. The Scorpio Races can be enjoyed by fans of YA, but I think fans of adult fiction would find that they enjoy it as well. 

**Sidenote: The audiobook pronounces capaill uisce like “cap-ull ish-ka” – I never would’ve figured that out on my own. 

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The Scorpio Races will appeal to fans of:

YA Fantasy/Mythology & Legend
Fantastic Characterization

Excellent Setting (Setting-as-Character)
Romance: No triangle, Very slow-burn
Alternating POV’s
Award-Winning Reads: 2012 Printz Honor

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
is currently available for purchase.

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Talk to me about The Scorpio Races.
I’m about to explode!

Has anyone heard the audiobook?

Asheley

About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!

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29 responses to “…on The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater {Audiobook}

  1. I loved this book so much, for all the same reasons. Except I read it, BUT! I did get the audiobook from audible so I could re-read it soon. And because Maggie's books on audio are among the best on my list. (Except for the guy in Shiver who did Sam's voice..he was ALL KINDS of wrong. Glad they replaced him for Linger and Forever.)

    I'm so glad you ended-started-whatever with this book, Asheley, because you're now part of the group of people who's experienced perfection. 🙂

    • YAY! This book was just incredible. Print and audio. I can't wait until you hear it because I think you'll love it more and harder and all over again, which must sound completely odd coming from ME (me, that has just now finally read it) but you have to trust me on the audiobook thing.

      I'm SO GLAD that you loved this one enough to nudge me to read it. I want to read it again.

  2. I am SO HAPPY that you finally read The Scorpio Races! It's my favorite Maggie book, and just reading your thoughts made me want to read it again (which will definitely happen this year). I'm so glad you ended up enjoying it <3

  3. Aw, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I agree with the praise for the book's setting for sure. A nice way to start off the new year, as well as to close out the old one. 🙂

  4. YES! *fist pump* I am SO glad you loved this one, Asheley! I was so mystified by the hype surrounding this too, so I decided to give it a shot and I just fell in LOVE. With Corr, with Sean, with Thisby…everything! It's such a beautiful story and the writing is just gorgeous. I've heard the audiobook is spectacular, so I should listen to it sometime for sure. Amazing review, dearest! 🙂

  5. Glad to see you liked it! It was one of my favorite reads in 2012. I'm just now getting in to the whole audiobook thing, listening to Harry Potter right now. I'll have to check out the audio of this one!

    • The Harry Potter audiobooks are among the best – they have one of the best narrators out there! The voice actors in this audiobook are incredible too, and I love doing audio for re-reads, so keep this one in mind if you are considering a re-read in the future. It is so lovely.

      And this book. I just can't believe how great this book is.

  6. I have also been pushing this book back and back on my reading pile. I definitely want to read it via audiobook. I have heard time and time again how wonderful the audiobook is.

    I'm hoping that I will finally get to it soon.

    Thanks for the review. It is really motivating me to finally read The Scorpio Races.

    • That is exactly the same way I felt a couple of weeks ago when I read the blog post I mentioned. I'm SO GLAD I took the leap and finally read it AND listened to the audio – both are so wonderful. Whichever way you decide to read it, I hope you love it just as much as I did. It's just brilliant.

  7. I love when you talked about the characters and their relationships and when you said: "I see the way they see each other." That is something that MS truly EXCELS at. My favorite authors are ones that let the reader see their characters from the inside and outside. And the location – I WANT TO GO TO THISBY!!! It felt so real. I could feel the salty air in my face while I read this book. I LOVE horse books, and Corr and Sean's relationship was my favorite ever.

    Also, I LOVE that you said this is one of your favorite audio books, because I keep thinking that as well. The readers were AMAZING. (If this won't ruin it, you should go to Steve West's website and watch some of his commercials. funny!).

    I'm pretty sure that my review of this book was the first blog post I did so it holds even more good memories for me. 🙂 I am so happy that you finally read this book and that it spoke to you. Seriously, in my top books EVER.

    • I'm kind of stunned that I connected so well with Corr because I'm SO not an animal-book reader. I've never 'loved' horses or horse television shows (my girls do) but I really just loved Corr. He was written so, so well – almost like a person-character but without the inner thoughts. I loved it.

      I can't remember where I was in the book when I decided to download the audiobook, but I had been reading for a good, long time. 1/4? 1/3 maybe? So to go back and listen after reading and re-reading portions just tells you how much this book pulled and tugged at my heart, and that was only at the beginning of the story. The audiobook is so well produced, the readers so well-chosen for their voices and inflection and even personalities – I'd have loved it if I wasn't doing reading + audio, but doing both was quite an experience. I've seen West's website, but I didn't click on any of his commercials – I'll have to check them out. I do love his voice, though.

      And today, I was reading Heather's end of the year survey on her blog and this book was mentioned in there a few times and it made me weepy again. I'm so fond of it. Still working my way thru my muddy thoughts for an email. I can see why this is one of your favorite books ever.

  8. I still need to read this one, and your review makes me want to push it to the top of my list. The setting sounds perfect, and I'm really excited to learn all about the characters. Hopefully my library will have a copy? If not, I may just have to purchase one!

    • I hope your library has a copy too! There is definitely some credibility to the hype in the reading community around this book. It is a very worthy read. I think you will like Puck Connolly especially because I know how much you love great female characters, Allison. But it isn't only Puck that makes this book great – and not only the setting either – it's all of that combined with the relationships and Sean Kendrick and their horses, Corr and Dove. You'll see when you read it, there are just no adequate words. I really hope you like it half as much as I did. So, so great.

    • I read your other comment while I was replying, Heather! –

      I LOVE that you are considering audio and print for the first time for this book. If you do it, I can almost guarantee you will find it a rewarding experience. It will make your heart swell and soar, for sure. I'd LOVE it if you try it and let me know how you like the print + audio experience. 🙂

      And I'm glad we got to email back and forth about this book. I'm glad I finally read it, although with reading it comes the sort-of sadness that I can never again experience it again for the first time. Still, I will absolutely be re-reading it, both in print and in audio. I absolutely understand why it is a favorite.

  9. I have not heard the audiobook but I did enjoy reading this…until I picked up The Raven Boys and felt that it blew all of Stiefvater's previous work out of the water.

    • So you liked The Raven Boys better?
      I've heard good things about that book, but I've also seen some mixed reviews. I have that one but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm excited to read it, though, because I love mixed reviews so much. I wanted to wait until the hype surrounding the book was WAY gone before I picked it up. I plan on reading it before too long, especially after reading this one. It made me remember hos much I liked Maggie S's work.

  10. I love her writing. I also got this while it was on sale. and it still sits on my kindle. Poor thing. I will get to it. Soon! Very soon. Your review has also inspired me to finish Forever.

    I know I know, I'm pathetic. I read Shiver, Loved, Read linger, Loved, Started Forever and then stopped. Because I'm a pussy. And I'm afraid of how it will end. I must pick it back up. it was good, its just , well, it's so bitter sweet ending a series. :/

    now I'm just whining. Ahh, but I really need to read this. If the book is anywhere as beautiful as your review is, I will love it. Now if I was gonna copy paste paragraphs from you, it would have been in this review. lol. Just saying. <3

  11. FIRST OF ALL, it's a whole month later and I'm still happy dancing inside that I got to play a part in getting you to read this book. This was tied with Jellicoe Road as my favorite read of 2012, and I get the warm fuzzies inside just thinking about it. And now I have this delicious joy over knowing that I got to review it at the right time and in just the right way (and then hound you about it on Twitter) so that you finally picked it up.

    I'd also like to say that I may just have teared up at this kindest of all shout-outs. Knowing that I could make you feel like you'd want to drop every book to read the one I'm talking about is BY FAR one of the best things you could ever say. There are not enough words to tell you how much I cherish you saying that.

    And OMG this is definitely a savor kind of read. It's just that perfect slow build of emotion that is just perfect. Like you, I really don't even have the words. I don't even have the words to express my love for this book and I love that you don't either. We can just silently nod at each other from across the interwebs about the perfection that is Thisby, Puck, Sean, Corr, Dove… Well, I could go but I'll rein it in.

    I'm so glad you agree about Thisby being its own character! That absolutely made me fall head over heels for the book, and I'm really glad I mentioned it in my review since that's what sparked your interest. Sigh sigh sigh. Just thinking about Thisby makes me happy.

    Finally, thank you so much for recommending this audiobook to me! I mean, seriously. I'm on disc 5 or 6 right now (so about halfway through) and am ADORING every single second of it. The readers really are perfection. I feel like I'm going into this zen state as I listen to them because it's like being enveloped in a nice, warm hug.

    Also, TOTALLY SHOCKED at how capaill usice was pronounced. Definitely had a what the heck moment when they said it on the audio. NOT had I thought it in my head haha!

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